Plaster of Paris:Safety

Submitted by Raven on 01/24/2004. ( )

There was a post a while back regarding the safety of Plaster of Paris. I mentionned then about it containing silica and someone told me I was wrong and that plaster was 100% safe etc. So just so that there is any easy to find source in the archives should anyone else look up the safety of plaster of paris, I am copying the side panel off a box of DAP brand plaster of paris. The warning section reads;

WARNING! May cause eye, skin, nose and throat irritation. Do not get in eyes. Do not get on skin or clothing. Do not breathe dust. Harmful if inhaled. Handle with care. When mixed with water, this material hardens and then slowly becomes hot. DO NOT atempt to make a cast enclosing any part of the body using this material. Failure to follow these instructions may cause severe burns that may require surgical removal of affected tissues. When mixing or sanding, dust may cause irritation to eyes, ears, nose and mouth. Prolonged inhalation of excessive amounts of dust will have adverse pulmonary and respiratory effects. Over exposure may cause lung damage. Contains crystaline silica which can cause cancer.

It also says to keep out of reach of children etc. This is one of those situations where you learn bits and pieces about something over years and years of reading and talking to people in the profession but then you file it away in your mind somewhere. When asked HOW you know this ya draw a blank and say "Ummm I just do?". Not a very convincing answer admittedly, so I thought I would post this along with it's source as a safety measure. I know I've seen people ask that question a few times. The lung damage they talk about in the warning is in part called 'silicosis' or stone lung. It's the same sort of thing as asbestosis that you get from breathing asbestos.

Plaster of Paris IS safe if used properly, but I dont think Ive ever seen teachers handing out dust masks to students in a grade 2 class using the stuff...

Anyway - I hope this post will help someone in the future.

Happy casting!

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This response submitted by Vicki Chritton-Myers on 01/24/2004. ( )

Appreciate the info. Good point about the school use, too.

Whos the IDIOT that said it was safe?

This response submitted by JOhn C on 01/24/2004. ( )

Safe? Oh yea, inhale it and it sets up in your lungs.

The IDIOT dont have a clue, SILACOSOUS (SP) is what happens, the little hairs in the bronc. airways become impacted and cannot clear thierself.

Understand IDIOT PLASTER SETS UP IN WATER, DUH! What is mucus made of? 85% water, DUH!

Ive said this a bazillion times...

This response submitted by Bill Yox on 01/24/2004. ( )

I dont care if its CAKE MIX, if you breath it in and it dont all come out, its harmful! Thanks Raven, for showing the particulars here. Im sure someone will still say youre wrong. (but it wont be me!)

There was a previous post

This response submitted by Vicki Chritton-Myers on 01/24/2004. ( )

that said it was safe to use to cast 'body parts' on a person. Think there was also one that said to use Bondo for same. Scary to think that someone might actually have done either of these! Maybe Raven's post will serve as a reminder to people to be careful with ANY chemicals we use. Wasn't there a movie years ago with Lilly Tomlin as a housewife that was exposed to too many chemicals? Funny movie, as I remember it! =)

Not sure who it was...

This response submitted by Raven on 01/25/2004. ( )

Ya always get people like that tho.. they work around the stuff and since nothing deadly has happenned to them they tell everyone safety is over rated and the stuff is harmless. There was another guy that said I was wrong and that foam was harmless and that the isocyanates in it can't hurt you. Then he went on to say I didn't know what I was talking about and must have never used the stuff - LOL!

Sad part is - these are the types of folks who never WILL have anything bad happen to them.. it's the people they make believe them that wil get silicosis or iscoyanate sensitization that will suffer.. thats just fates' way =(

"Relatively safe"

This response submitted by Creator on 01/25/2004. ( )

I've used plaster for years with a dust mask and glasses and never had any problems, so I would say that it is *relatively* safe compared to most resins, considering that you don't need a respirator (no plaster I'm aware of generates fumes, it's the physical dust that you have to be concerned with). That is why I recommend it to beginners, not to mislead or harm anyone. However, there's no way for me to know exactly which chemicals a particular resin or plaster contains or how it can effect you. ALWAYS READ THE WARNINGS AND BE OVERLY CAUTIOUS.

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